A simple definition of a vegan diet is the diet free of meat, fish and fowl flesh. But the eating habits of the people doing a vegan diet cover a wide spectrum. At one end are Lacto-ovo vegetarians who avoid animal flesh but eat eggs and milk products. At the other end are vegans, who forgo eating all animal-based products including honey. Raw foodies are vegans who eat raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts and nuts.
There are also pescatarians, who eat fish and seafood and Lacto vegetarians who eat dairy products but not eggs.
Fruitarians follow a diet that includes fruits, nuts, seeds and other plant food. Many people who eat macrobiotic diets consume grains, but they may eat fish as well.
In general, they do not identify themselves as vegetarians. Flexitarians refer to vegetarians who eat meat and fish occasionally.
Vegan Diet and Health
Most doctors and nutritionist agree that low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and nuts can be a boon to health. There is also research suggesting that reducing or eliminating red meat from the diet may cut your risk of heart disease.
Research also has shown that a vegan or vegetarian diet may lower your risk of getting diabetes. And it has been found that vegetarians have lower triglycerides, glucose lever, blood pressure and body mass index.
Does Being Vegetarian Lower Cancer Risk
It is difficult to say whether being vegetarian or a vegan lowers cancer risk. This is mainly because of diversity within the vegetarian population.
Many studies of the cancer-vegetarian relationship conclude that diet rich in fibres, vitamins, and minerals isoflavones (found in soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts and more) and carotenoids (found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, red peppers and more) seem to protect against the disease including cancer when part of a health-conscious lifestyle.
Vegan Diet and Nutrition
A meatless diet can be healthy, but the vegans need to make sure that they are getting enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc.
The nutritionist warns of risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies in vegans. Vitamin B12 is found naturally only in animal products. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anaemia and blindness. It can also cause muscle cause, tingling and numbness.
Vegans should have B12 supplements or fortified cereals and veggie burgers, to offset the increased risk. B12 has been found in mushrooms in various quantities, particularly in the outer peel, but it is too early to be considered a food source of vitamin B12.
Vegans who eat eggs but not dairy, need to find foods or supplements that compensate for the missing calcium from their diets. Absorbable calcium is critical to protect against osteoporosis or thinning bones.
About 3% of Americans follow the vegan diet. There reasons for eating this way vary. Some vegans do it improve their health. A plant-based diet could lower the risk of certain diseases. Other stay away from the meat because they don’t want to harm animals or they want to protect the environment.
What You Can Eat?
- On a vegan diet, you can eat foods made from plants including:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Legumes such as peas, beans and lentils.
- Nuts and Seeds.
- Bread, Rice and Pasta.
- Dairy alternatives such as soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk.
- Vegetable oils.
What You Can’t Eat?
- Vegans can’t eat any foods made from animals, including:
- Beef, lamb and other red meat.
- Chicken and other poultry.
- Fish and shellfish such as crabs, clams and mussels.
- Cheese, Butter.
- Milk, cream, ice-cream and other dairy products.
- Mayonnaise (because it includes egg yolks).
For most athletes, the well-constructed diet should provide sufficient energy balance. However, data suggest that negative energy balance is common in endurance athletes and athletes participating in weight making and aesthetic sports (combat sports, gymnastic, skating and dancing). Very large athletes might also find it difficult to achieve energy balance, particularly during high volume training phases.
Vegan vs Vegetarian
Although vegetarians do not consume meat, that is the primary distinction between vegan and vegetarian. They consume dairy products, eggs, or both. The vegan diet bans all Products of animal-based ingredients.
The vegan diet is more restrictive, so people will need to think more about where their nutrients are coming from to ensure that they meet their daily dietary requirements.
Pros of Vegan Diet
All the nutrients a people needs can be given by vegan diets and some of the potential
risks associated with unhealthy animal fats can be prevented by testing.
Research has related several health benefits to the vegan diet, including those
Better Heart Health
A large scale study has linked a higher intake of plant-based foods and a lower intake of animal foods with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Lower Cancer Risk
According to the 2017 review eating a vegan diet may reduce a person risk of cancer by 15%. The health benefit may be because the plant foods are higher in fibre, vitamins that protect from cancer.
People on the vegan diet tend to have lower body mass index and those following other diets. Many animal foods are high in fat and calories, so replacing these with low calories plant-based food can help people manage their weight.
Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
According to large 2018 review following a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cons of Vegan Diet
Limited Food Choices
The vegan diet is referred to as the most restrictive version of a plant-based diet. Certainly, if you adopt this eating plan, then you have fewer food choices in your intake.
A vegan diet can be healthy, but few potential nutritional deficiencies need to be addressed. Researchers have found that vegan diets are lacking calcium that is required for bone formation.
Difficulty Dining Out
When shopping for vegan-friendly food, consumers can read product information.
A few restaurants make a note of vegan or vegetarian food on their menus but not many.
In pros mentioned above and cons of a Vegan diet, you will get the idea and detailed information about people who are on a Vegan diet what are their lifestyles.